(N.Morgan) As our world is seemingly in turmoil, Nature continues to amaze us with her splendors and remind us of the beauty She shares all around us.
Sometimes I think we forget to look around and take in all that nature gives to us.
In this photo essay, I would like to share with you some of the most beautiful and mysterious place our Mother nature has graced us with.
Our first stop is to check out this phenomenon known as Volcanic Lighting or Dirty Thunderstorms
A dirty thunderstorm (also, Volcanic lightning) is a weather phenomenon that is related to the production of lightning in a volcanic plume.
A famous image of the phenomenon was photographed by Carlos Gutierrez and occurred in Chile above the Chaiten Volcano.It circulated widely on the internet.
Other instances have been reported above Alaska’s Mount Augustine volcano,and Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano.
Next up is the wonders of the Frozen Air Bubbles in Abraham Lake
Abraham Lake is an artificial lake on North Saskatchewan River in western Alberta, Canada.
The lake was created in 1972, with the construction of the Bighorn Dam, and named after Silas Abraham, an inhabitant of the Saskatchewan River valley in the nineteenth century.
Abraham Lake is home to a rare phenomenon where bubbles get frozen right underneath its surface.
They’re often referred to as ice bubbles or frozen bubbles.
Photographer Fikret Onal explains the phenomenon: “The plants on the lake bed release methane gas and methane gets frozen once coming close enough to much colder lake surface and they keep stacking up below once the weather gets colder and colder during [the] winter season.”
Another wonder to behold is the Underground Natural Springs of Mexico.
The Yucatan Peninsula is quite rare in its construction and distinctive, with its porous limestone shelving creating large tunnels and sinkholes reaching to the depths of the Earth.
These natural underground tunnels are called cenotes, and the Yucatan Peninsula is home to two thousand of them, often linked by underground rivers.
In ancient times, these cenotes were the primary water source, and were also symbolically significant as they were seen as passageways to the underworld.
The ethereal feeling these other-worldly rivers produce draws thousands to explore them each year.
Some of these remarkable places just seem to beautiful to exist and this next natural wonder is no exception, The Giant Crystal Cave Nacia Mexico is one of those unbelievable places.
Cave of the Crystals or Giant Crystal Cave (Spanish: Cueva de los Cristales) is a cave connected to the Naica Mine 300 metres (980 ft) below the surface in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico.
The main chamber contains giant selenite crystals (gypsum, CaSO4·2 H2O), some of the largest natural crystals ever found.
The cave’s largest crystal found to date is 12 m (39 ft) in length, 4 m (13 ft) in diameter and 55 tons in weight.
The cave is extremely hot, with air temperatures reaching up to 58 °C (136 °F) with 90 to 99 percent humidity.
The cave is relatively unexplored due to these factors.Without proper protection, people can only endure approximately ten minutes of exposure at a time.
A group of scientists known as the Naica Project have been heavily involved in researching these caverns.
Naica lies on an ancient fault above an underground magma chamber below the cave.
The magma heated the ground water which was saturated with sulfide ions (S2−).
Cool oxygenated surface water contacted the mineral saturated heated water, but the two did not mix due to the difference in their densities.
The oxygen slowly diffused into the heated water and oxidized the sulfides (S2−) into sulfates (SO42−).
The hydrated sulfate gypsum crystallized at an extremely slow rate of over the course of at least 500,000 years forming the enormous crystals found today.
The key to this process is the slow diffusion of oxygen from the cool, low density surface water into the hot, high density ground water.
We all know how stunning the ocean can be, vast, endless and ruthless, when she feels dangerous and unruly.
However this next place resembles what many might think to be a place that is otherworldly, The Shimmering Shores of Vaadhoo Maldives will not disappoint the weary seeker of Nature’s finest sites.
These famous group of islands are known for being a heaven on Earth.
But Vaadhoo Island has a lot of surprises, that are revealed at night.
The mesmerizing shining water looks like a mirror, that reflects the sparkling stars above.
However, the secret is this: phytoplankton – the marine microbes – are bioluminescent and emanate the blue glow.
The species create the most romantic natural lighting in the world.
One of my favorite places to see is the Reflective Salts Flats in Bolivia.
Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa) is the world’s largest salt flat at 10,582 square kilometers (4,086 sq mi).
It is located in the Daniel Campos Province in Potosí in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes and is at an elevation of 3,656 meters (11,995 ft) above mean sea level.
The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes.
It is covered by a few meters of salt crust, which has an extraordinary flatness with the average altitude variations within one meter over the entire area of the Salar.
The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium.
It contains 50 to 70% of the world’s lithium reserves,which is in the process of being extracted.
The large area, clear skies, and the exceptional flatness of the surface make the Salar an ideal object for calibrating the altimeters of Earth observation satellites.
The Salar serves as the major transport route across the Bolivian Altiplano and is a major breeding ground for several species of pink flamingos.
Salar de Uyuni is also a climatological transitional zone since the towering tropical cumulus congestus and cumulus incus clouds that form in the eastern part of the salt flat during the summer cannot permeate beyond its drier western edges, near the Chilean border and the Atacama Desert.
This next place has an Heavenly air, the Light pillars over Moscow have left many is wonder and awe.
This optical phenomenon recalls something out of a sci-fi movie; however, the geological formation of light pillars is quite naturally created by the reflection of sunlight or moonlight cast through ice crystals present in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The thin vertical columns appear #below a light source when the sun is low or hanging beyond the horizon.
The light pillars in Moscow are prominently visible at certain times of year, casting eerie arcs of light over the city.
So far we have covered some really extrodinary places abroad, now let’s have a look at one of these natural wonders here in the US.
The natural Saltwater Fountain off the coast of Oregon is certainly something to see.
Cape Perpetua is a large forested headland on the central Oregon Coast which projects into the Pacific Ocean.
The land is managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the Siuslaw National Forest.
For at least 6,000 years Native Americans hunted for mussels, crabs, sea urchins, and clams along the coast near Cape Perpetua.
Evidence of their lives can still be found in the huge piles of discarded mussel shells that lie along the shore near the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center.
This location is also known as Thor’s Wall.
One of my favorite places out West that I had the privilege to see during my travels was the Sandstone formations of Arizona or The Wave.
To me it appeared an artist had touched this place with a paintbrush.
The lines and colors are almost too perfect to be real, yet they are.
The Wave is a sandstone rock formation located in the United States of America near the Arizona–Utah border, on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes, in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, on the Colorado Plateau.
It is famous among hikers and photographers for its colorful, undulating forms, and the rugged, trackless hike required to reach it.
An ideal time to photograph The Wave is the few hours around midday when there are no shadows in the center, although early morning and late afternoon shadows can also make for dramatic photos.
After a rain storm, numerous pools form which can contain hundreds of tadpoles and fairy shrimp.
These pools can be present for several days.
This next natural wonder can be found in Kaulia Hawaii, the incredible Rainbow Eucalyptus Trees
Eucalyptus deglupta is a tall tree, commonly known as the rainbow eucalyptus, Mindanao gum, or rainbow gum.
It is the only Eucalyptus species found naturally in the Northern Hemisphere.
Its natural distribution spans New Britain, New Guinea, Seram, Sulawesi and Mindanao.
The unique multi-hued bark is the most distinctive feature of the tree.
Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing a bright green inner bark.
This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones
Now this next place has caused a lotof controversey and speculation as to if this is a Biblical event or just Nature playing tricks.
The Blood Falls in Anartica is a somewhat frightening specticule to witness.
Blood Falls is an outflow of an iron oxide-tainted plume of saltwater, flowing from the tongue of Taylor Glacier onto the ice-covered surface of West Lake Bonney in the Taylor Valley of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Victoria Land, East Antarctica.
Iron-rich hypersaline water sporadically emerges from small fissures in the ice cascades.
The saltwater source is a subglacial pool of unknown size overlain by about 400 metres (1,300 ft) of ice several kilometers from its tiny outlet at Blood Falls.
The reddish deposit was found in 1911 by the Australian geologist Griffith Taylor, who first explored the valley that bears his name.
The Antarctica pioneers first attributed the red color to red algae, but later it was proven to be due only to iron oxides.
Now this next one isn’t about beauty, more on the odd side of the things we see in nature.
The spiderweb cocooned trees of Pakistan is not for the faint at heart.
In 2010, ten years’ worth of rainfall poured onto Pakistani cities and villages in less than a week, completely ravaging the affected areas.
While this flood was like others in many unfortunate ways–people were displaced, homes were ruined, rivers surged—one surprising consequence was entirely unique to the area.
Once the rain stopped, people began noticing cocooned trees covered by sticky webs.
Since it took longer than usual for the water in the flooded areas to recede, high volumes of insects, spiders and other creatures were forced to seek shelter above ground.
The result was a number of cocooned trees wrapped in spider webs so thick that they were visible from yards away.
The next stop is the Underwater Forrest of Lake Kaindy.
This marvel is anohter one that seems too beautiful to be true.
Lake Kaindy, meaning the “falling rocks/landslide lake”– is a 400-meter-long (1,300 ft) lake in Kazakhstan that reaches depths near 30 meters (98 ft) in some areas.
It is located 129 kilometers (80 mi) east-southeast of the city of Almaty and is 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) above sea level.
The lake was created as the result of an enormous limestone landslide, triggered by the 1911 Kebin earthquake.
The track to Lake Kaindy has many scenic views to the Saty Gorge, the Chilik Valley, and the Kaindy Gorge. Dried-out trunks of submerged Picea schrenkiana trees rise above the surface.
Our journey is now almost at the end and our last stop is Lake Hillier in Australia.
A delightful spot for those who love the color pink, this lake is a colorful delight that looks like cotton candy.
Lake Hillier was visited by the Matthew Flinders’ expedition on 15 January 1802.
Flinders’ journal entries are considered to be the first written records of the lake.
Flinders observed the pink lake after ascending the island’s highest peak (now called Flinders Peak), describing the lake as follows:
In the north-eastern part was a small lake of a rose color, the water of which, as I was informed by Mr. Thistle who visited it, was so saturated with salt that sufficient quantities were crystallized near the shores to load a ship. The specimen he brought on board was of a good quality, and required no other process than drying to be fit for use.